Portrait de Claudia Senik economiste du bonheur ‡ Paris le 16/10/2014 Photo Jean-Christophe MARMARA/Le Figaro

Claudia Senik

Professor at the University Paris-Sorbonne and Paris School of Economics

Academic Article

Wealth and happiness

Does wealth accumulation impact subjective well-being? Within a country, household wealth has been shown to improve individual well-being by providing a safety net of protection against negative income shocks, by allowing current and expected consumption flows, and by its potential use as a collateral. At the aggregate level, direct evidence about the relationship between national wealth and happiness is almost non-existent, owing to data limitations and statistical identification problems. However, aggregate wealth impacts well-being indirectly, via positive channels, such as institutional quality and improvement in health, life expectancy, and education. Wealth also brings about nega- tive environmental degradations and other damages. The stock of accumulated wealth is also likely to affect happiness indirectly, via its influence on the rate of GDP growth, because both the level of income flows and the rate of income growth have been shown to be factors of higher well-being.

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